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Exploring Haut-Léman

Tourist offices in the low-lying Chablais region offer a free Passeport covering five sites, including the two museums within the Château d’Aigle, the Bex salt mines and the Château de Chillon near Montreux. Ask for the passeport at any tourist office in the Haut-Léman region, then get it stamped by each place to qualify for reduced admission (Fr.2–3 off full-price). Note that the Vaud Regional Pass is valid for transport in the whole of Haut-Léman, and also for journeys south to Martigny.

Before trains enter Canton Valais, they first pass through a diverse and little-known area of Canton Vaud known as HAUT-LÉMAN, extending southeast of Lake Geneva. South of Montreux lies the broad, flat Rhône valley, the river meandering languorously between the great craggy peaks of the Dents-du-Midi on one side, and the heights of Les Diablerets on the other. The valley floor and west-facing foothills make up the acclaimed wine region of Chablais, no less prestigious a producer than its lakeshore competitors of La Côte and Lavaux, and centred on the fine old town of Aigle, with its fairy-tale turreted castle surrounded by vineyards. Above Aigle rise the 3000m-plus peaks of the Alpes Vaudoises, centred on a handful of attractive, small-scale resorts such as Villars and Les Diablerets that offer excellent skiing and a cosy atmosphere well away from the clutter and bustle of the huge resorts of Verbier and Crans-Montana further south.

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